New podcast episode out now!

We are pleased to announce the next episode of our podcast series Interrogating Hardy is now available. This episode focuses on Hardy and fashion and will examine his relationship with fashion as well as discussing key garments on display at our Hardy’s Wessex exhibition.

Please find images and information about the garments discussed in this week’s podcast below

portrait of Hardy as a baby with his mother, in a black gilded frame

Thomas Hardy and his mother Jemima

This is believed to be the earliest portrait of Hardy as a baby, with his mother Jemima. She is wearing a blue striped and sprigged dress with a blue flounce and collar. A dark shawl around her shoulders, while Hardy is in his christening robes.

Unknown Gouache on paper 1840

On display at The Salisbury Museum (on loan from Dorset Museum)

Jemima Hardy’s shawl

This striped paisley design shawl belonged to Hardy’s mother Jemima. Woven cotton and wool

Mid-19th century

On display at The Salisbury Museum (on loan from Dorset Museum)

A scrap from Hardy’s mother Jemima’s wedding dress

Most households couldn’t afford the expense of a wedding dress that would only be worn once. White was impractical for day-to-day wear, so women would often choose patterned fabric, as Jemima did. These dresses could then be used for Sunday best.

Manufacturer unknown
Blue and brown striped silk with cream background c.1839 RD.2838

On display at Poole Museum (on loan from Dorset Museum)

Red long dress against a black background

Kate Hardy’s dress

Kate bought this stunning red dress while she was a teacher in Dorchester. Having never married, her income was her own to spend as she pleased. The striking colour and rich materials speak of a woman not afraid to be noticed.

Bought from Genge, Dixon and Jameson, Dorchester
Red silk and metal buttons 1887-93

On display at The Salisbury Museum (on loan from Dorset Museum)

‘Wing bonnet’

Instead of the wing bonnet like the tilt of a waggon, cotton gown, bright-hued neckerchief, and strong flat boots and shoes, they (the younger ones at least) wear shabby millinery bonnets and hats with beads and feathers, 'material' dresses, and boot-heels almost as foolishly shaped as those of ladies of highest education.

‘The Dorsetshire Labourer’ The ‘winged bonnet’ or sunbonnet was traditionally worn by women working in the fields. By the end of the 19th century, country women were wearing town fashions for their work. Hardy felt that they lost some of their identity through losing their traditional, practical clothing.

Cotton sunbonnet Late-19th century

On display at and owned by Dorset Museum

Sergeant Troy military costume from Far from the Madding Crowd film

This costume was worn by Terence Stamp, playing the dashing Sergeant Troy. It features most memorably in the scene where Troy shows off his swordsmanship to farmer Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie).

Designed by Alan Barrett (1938-1991), made by Nathan’s costume house (est. 1790)
Woollen cloth with metal buttons and metallic braid c.1966

On display at Wiltshire Museum (on loan from a private collector)

Interrogating Hardy is hosted by our curator, Harriet Still, she is joined by an academic researcher and an expert on the modern-day for each episode. Production and promotion of the podcast are by Kirsty O’Rourke. 

Remember to sign up for our newsletter if you want to hear about new Wessex Museums events and resources.

We are hugely grateful to Battens Solicitors for sponsoring our Thomas Hardy exhibition. 

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